May 21, 2022

More than 1,600 Purdue University Global graduates take part in commencement ceremonies in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — Some 1,630 Purdue University Global graduates took part in in-person and virtual commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 21) at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre.

In his address to the Class of 2022, speaker Derrick Howell-McQueen pointed out that commencement signifies a beginning rather than an ending.

 “If you look within yourself and perceive today as the day that you have graduated, this perspective would imply that this is the end of the road for you,” said Howell-McQueen, a financial coach and licensed minister born and raised in Indianapolis, who earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Purdue University Global in 2021. “I would rather you focus your vision forward and to the future so that you can see that, yes, this is a moment that I’ve achieved something great; yes, this is an opportunity for me to celebrate with my loved ones, with my family and all of those who have journeyed through this obstacle course with me, but I cannot allow myself to merely get stuck in this moment.

Derrick Howell-McQueen Derrick Howell-McQueen, an Indianapolis native who earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Purdue University Global in 2021, provided the keynote address for Purdue University Global commencement ceremonies on Saturday (May 21) in his hometown. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

“It’s our vision that fuels us so that we can continue to journey and to move forward in our lives. This is very important to realize and to conceptually understand because anything that is no longer progressing, anything that is no longer moving forward, is ultimately in the process of no longer existing.

“I charge you to never stop envisioning. Never stop growing. … I charge you to celebrate the accomplishment of today while simultaneously writing a new vision for tomorrow. Use today as future proof that you can persevere through anything.”

Saturday marked Purdue University Global’s 13th commencement since its formation in 2018 and the third in Indianapolis.

Two in-person ceremonies and a virtual one took place over the course of the day. Degrees were awarded from the schools of Aviation, Business and Information Technology, Education, General Education, Health Sciences, Nursing, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Concord Law School. There were 738 bachelor’s degrees, 579 master’s degrees, 177 associate degrees, 83 certificates and 16 postgraduate certificates, and 37 doctoral degrees (23 Doctor of Nursing Practice, 12 Executive Juris Doctor and two Juris Doctor).

Purdue University Global conferred its first two Bachelor of Science degrees in professional flight – to Rafael Madrid of Orlando, Florida, and Aydin Yaman of Chicago, who graduated summa cum laude – a program that launched in 2019.

Frank Dooley Chancellor Frank Dooley congratulated Purdue University Global graduates from all 50 states and across the globe on Saturday (May 21) in Indianapolis. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) Download image

The graduates reside in all 50 states – including 281 Indiana residents and 46 from Indianapolis – plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Forty-three employees of Purdue West Lafayette, Purdue Fort Wayne, Purdue Northwest and Purdue University Global are among those who earned a Purdue University Global degree or certificate via the Purdue University Global education benefit, pushing that total above 500 since the program’s inception.

Chancellor Frank Dooley addressed the graduates – 885 of them in-person and 745 virtually.

“Whether you are here in Indianapolis or participating virtually, we are grateful to provide a ceremony that brings us all together, no matter where we are around the globe,” Dooley said. “I love that we can remain close through this institution as we recognize your accomplishments today.”

Dooley noted that over 9,000 Purdue University Global students are affiliated with the military, including nearly 5,100 active duty, National Guard and reserve members serving worldwide. Almost 50% are the first in their family to attend college, and about 60% care for a child or other dependent.

“What you have all done is so remarkable,” Dooley said. “You completed your education while dealing with everything that life throws your way, including a pandemic. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get where you are today, and you should be proud.”

Two Purdue University Global graduates performed the national anthem before their respective in-person ceremonies: Colleen Sheese, from Downs, Illinois, a U.S. Army veteran who earned a Master of Science degree in nursing, and Leighton Johnson, from Collierville, Tennessee, a U.S. Navy veteran who earned a master’s degree in health care administration. Johnson previously graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Purdue University Global in 2020 and sang the national anthem at the December 2020 virtual ceremony.

In the days before commencement, Purdue University Global hosted various virtual celebratory events, including a photo booth, toast, graduation “shout out” board and social media activities.

Over 10,000 Purdue University Global students have graduated in the last year.

The next Purdue University Global commencement is scheduled for August 13 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue University Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit

Writer/Media Contact: Tom Schott,

Sources: Frank Dooley

Beth Smith

Derrick Howell-McQueen

Note to Journalists: Photos of commencement, Derrick Howell-McQueen and Frank Dooley are available on Google Drive.

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